Exodus 23

Sundry Laws

1 "1You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a 2malicious witness.
2 "You shall not follow * the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to 3pervert justice;
3 4nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.
4 "5If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him
5 "6If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall refrain from leaving it to him, you shall surely release it with him.
6 "7You shall not pervert the justice due to your needy brother in his dispute.
7 "8Keep far from a false charge, and 9do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for 10I will not acquit the guilty.
8 "11You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.
9 "12You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.

The Sabbath and Land

10 "13You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield,
11 but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
12 "14Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.
13 "Now 15concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and 16do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.

Three National Feasts

14 "17Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me
15 "You shall observe 18the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the 19month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And 20none shall appear before Me empty-handed.
16 "Also you shall observe 21the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year 22when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field.
17 "23Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD.
18 "24You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; 25nor is the fat of My feast to remain overnight until morning.
19 "You shall bring 26the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God. "27 You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother

Conquest of the Land

20 "Behold, I am going to send 28an angel before you to guard you along the way and 29to bring you into the place which I have prepared.
21 "Be on your guard before * him and obey his voice; 30do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since 31My name is in him
22 "But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then 32I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
23 "33For My angel will go before you and bring you in to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them.
24 "34You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; 35but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their 36sacred pillars in pieces.
25 "37But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and 38I will remove sickness from your midst.
26 "There shall be no one miscarrying or 39barren in your land; 40I will fulfill the number of your days.
27 "I will 41send My terror ahead of you, and 42throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will 43make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
28 "I will send 44hornets ahead of you so that they will 45drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before * you.
29 "46I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.
30 "I will drive them out before you 47little by little, until * you become fruitful and take possession of the land.
31 "48I will fix your boundary from the Red * Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates; 49for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will 50drive them out before you.
32 "51You shall make no covenant with them 52or with their gods.
33 "53They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, 54it will surely be a snare to you."

Images for Exodus 23

Exodus 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

Laws against falsehood and injustice. (1-9) The year of rest, The sabbath, The three festivals. (10-19) God promises to conduct the Israelites to Canaan. (20-33)

Verses 1-9 In the law of Moses are very plain marks of sound moral feeling, and of true political wisdom. Every thing in it is suited to the desired and avowed object, the worship of one only God, and the separation of Israel from the pagan world. Neither parties, friends, witnesses, nor common opinions, must move us to lessen great faults, to aggravate small ones, excuse offenders, accuse the innocent, or misrepresent any thing.

Verses 10-19 Every seventh year the land was to rest. They must not plough or sow it; what the earth produced of itself, should be eaten, and not laid up. This law seems to have been intended to teach dependence on Providence, and God's faithfulness in sending the larger increase while they kept his appointments. It was also typical of the heavenly rest, when all earthly labours, cares, and interests shall cease for ever. All respect to the gods of the heathen is strictly forbidden. Since idolatry was a sin to which the Israelites leaned, they must blot out the remembrance of the gods of the heathen. Solemn religious attendance on God, in the place which he should choose, is strictly required. They must come together before the Lord. What a good Master do we serve, who has made it our duty to rejoice before him! Let us devote with pleasure to the service of God that portion of our time which he requires, and count his sabbaths and ordinances to be a feast unto our souls. They were not to come empty-handed; so now, we must not come to worship God empty-hearted; our souls must be filled with holy desires toward him, and dedications of ourselves to him; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Verses 20-33 It is here promised that they should be guided and kept in their way through the wilderness to the land of promise, Behold, I send an angel before thee, mine angel. The precept joined with this promise is, that they be obedient to this angel whom God would send before them. Christ is the Angel of Jehovah; ( 1 Corinthians. 10:9 ) a comfortable settlement in the land of Canaan. How reasonable are the conditions of this promise; that they should serve the only true God; not the gods of the nations, which are no gods at all. How rich are the particulars of this promise! The comfort of their food, the continuance of their health, the increase of their wealth, the prolonging their lives to old age. Thus hath godliness the promise of the life that now is. It is promised that they should subdue their enemies. Hosts of hornets made way for the hosts of Israel; such mean creatures can God use for chastising his people's enemies. In real kindness to the church, its enemies are subdued by little and little; thus we are kept on our guard, and in continual dependence on God. Corruptions are driven out of the hearts of God's people, not all at once, but by little and little. The precept with this promise is, that they should not make friendship with idolaters. Those that would keep from bad courses, must keep from bad company. It is dangerous to live in a bad neighbourhood; others' sins will be our snares. Our greatest danger is from those who would make us sin against God.

Cross References 54

  • 1. Exodus 20:16; Leviticus 19:11; Deuteronomy 5:20; Psalms 101:5; Proverbs 10:18
  • 2. Deuteronomy 19:16-21; Psalms 35:11; Proverbs 19:5; Acts 6:11
  • 3. Deuteronomy 16:19; Deuteronomy 24:17
  • 4. Exodus 23:6; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17; Deuteronomy 16:19
  • 5. Deuteronomy 22:1-4
  • 6. Deuteronomy 22:4
  • 7. Exodus 23:2, 3; Leviticus 19:15
  • 8. Exodus 20:16; Psalms 119:29; Ephesians 4:25
  • 9. Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 27:25
  • 10. Exodus 34:7; Deuteronomy 25:1; Romans 1:18
  • 11. Deuteronomy 10:17; Deuteronomy 16:19; Proverbs 15:27; Proverbs 17:8, 23; Isaiah 5:22, 23
  • 12. Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33; Deuteronomy 24:17; Deuteronomy 27:19
  • 13. Leviticus 25:1-7
  • 14. Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 31:15; Exodus 34:21; Exodus 35:2, 3; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:13
  • 15. Deuteronomy 4:9, 23; 1 Timothy 4:16
  • 16. Joshua 23:7; Psalms 16:4; Hosea 2:17
  • 17. Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:22-24; Deuteronomy 16:16
  • 18. Exodus 12:14-20; Leviticus 23:6-8; Numbers 28:16-25
  • 19. Exodus 12:2; Exodus 13:4
  • 20. Exodus 22:29; Exodus 34:20
  • 21. Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:10; Numbers 28:26
  • 22. Leviticus 23:39
  • 23. Exodus 23:14; Exodus 34:23; Deuteronomy 16:16
  • 24. Exodus 34:25; Leviticus 2:11
  • 25. Exodus 12:10; Leviticus 7:15; Deuteronomy 16:4
  • 26. Exodus 22:29; Exodus 34:26; Deuteronomy 26:2, 10; Nehemiah 10:35; Proverbs 3:9
  • 27. Deuteronomy 14:21
  • 28. Exodus 3:2; Exodus 14:19; Exodus 23:23; Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:2
  • 29. Exodus 15:16, 17
  • 30. Deuteronomy 9:7; Psalms 78:40, 56
  • 31. Exodus 3:14; Exodus 6:3; Exodus 34:5-7
  • 32. Genesis 12:3; Numbers 24:9; Deuteronomy 30:7
  • 33. Exodus 23:20; Joshua 24:8, 11
  • 34. Exodus 20:5; Exodus 23:13, 33; Deuteronomy 12:30
  • 35. Numbers 33:52; Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3; 2 Kings 18:4
  • 36. Exodus 34:13; Leviticus 26:1; 2 Kings 3:2
  • 37. Leviticus 26:3-13; Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Joshua 22:5; 1 Samuel 12:20; Matthew 4:10
  • 38. Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 7:15
  • 39. Deuteronomy 7:14
  • 40. Deuteronomy 4:40; Job 5:26
  • 41. Genesis 35:5; Exodus 15:16; Deuteronomy 2:25; Joshua 2:9
  • 42. Deuteronomy 7:23
  • 43. Psalms 18:40; Psalms 21:12
  • 44. Deuteronomy 7:20; Joshua 24:12
  • 45. Exodus 33:2; Exodus 34:11
  • 46. Deuteronomy 7:22
  • 47. Deuteronomy 7:22
  • 48. Genesis 15:18; Deuteronomy 1:7, 8; Deuteronomy 11:24
  • 49. Deuteronomy 2:36; Joshua 21:44
  • 50. Joshua 24:12, 18
  • 51. Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 7:2
  • 52. Exodus 23:13, 24
  • 53. Deut 7:1-5, 16
  • 54. Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 12:30; Joshua 23:13; Judges 2:3; Psalms 106:36

Footnotes 18

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains several laws, chiefly judicial, relating to the civil polity of Israel, as concerning witness borne and judgment made of cases in courts of judicature, without any respect to poor or rich, and without the influence of a bribe, Ex 23:1-3,6-8, concerning doing good to an enemy in case any of his cattle go astray, or fall under their burden, Ex 23:4,5, and of the oppression of a stranger, Ex 23:9, and then follow others concerning the sabbath of the seventh year, and of the seventh day, with a caution against the use of the names of idols, Ex 23:10-13, next are laws concerning the appearance of all their males at the three feasts, Ex 23:14-17, and concerning the slaying of the sacrifice of the passover, and bringing the first of the firstfruits of the land, Ex 23:18,19 and then a promise is made of sending an angel to them to bring them into the land of Canaan, where they should carefully avoid all idolatry, and show a just indignation against it, and serve the Lord, and then it would be well with them, Ex 23:20-26, and particularly it is promised, that the Lord would send his fear, and his hornets, before them, to destroy the inhabitants of the land, and drive out the rest by little and little, until they should possess the utmost borders of it, which are fixed, Ex 23:27-31, and the chapter is concluded with a direction not to make a covenant with these people, or their gods, nor suffer them to dwell among them, lest they should be a snare unto them, Ex 23:32,33.

Exodus 23 Commentaries

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